Saturday, July 14, 2007

Schools for individualists

I've always wondered what lay at the root of the German government's stubborn assertion that school is necessary for the development of a child into a responsible member of society. This fascinating interview has clarified the issue for me.

Marsha Enright states in the interview, referring to the well-known educationalist, John Dewey

In addition, Dewey focused on the socialization of the child. For him, the school was about teaching the child how to get along with other people and be a part of society—this was the crux of his “pedagogic creed.” You can see it in his famous declaration about the purpose of education, first published in The School Journal in January 1897. Dewey wrote, “I believe that the only true education comes through the stimulation of the child’s powers by the demands of the social situations in which he finds himself. Through these demands he is stimulated to act as a member of a unity, to emerge from his original narrowness of action and feeling, and to conceive of himself from the standpoint of the welfare of the group to which he belongs.”

Educationalists who dogmatically follow the Dewey line are obviously unaware that they are just being closed-minded in their religious fervour. How else can one explain their clinging to an outdated and unproven, or should I say, disproven, theory.

Especially the last sentence of this quote indicates that Dewey stood for the antithesis of individualism. Nor does he realise that the peer-group dumbing-down which takes place in schools acts as a funnel into "narrowness of action and feeling".

To top it all, the "Dewey-influenced" schools are the ones from which parents are removing their children in droves. That speaks volumes for their effectivity in turning out functinal members of society.

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